A new study by researchers in the University of Colorado, Boulder, United States (US) has shown that the children of women who use marijuana while pregnant, were more likely to suffer sleep problems as much as a decade later.
The findings of the study of nearly 12,000 youths published in the journal, ‘Sleep Health’: the Journal of The National Sleep Foundation, suggested that prenatal cannabis use may impact childrens’ sleep cycles long-term.
Senior author of the study, John Hewitt, who is the director, Institute for Behavioral Genetics at the University of Colorado, said that although, smoking and drinking alcohol were not advisable during pregnancy, the findings of this study suggested that it was prudent to extend that advice to cannabis, even if its use was now legal.
Based on the study, the researchers have urged mothers-to-be to be wary of dispensaries that advocate the use of cannabis as an antidote for morning sickness. According to the University of Colorado research, about 70 per cent of Colorado dispensaries recommend cannabis for that use.
But the ‘Medical Xpress’ reported that mounting evidence points to potential harms, including low birth weight and later cognitive problems. With marijuana on the market today including far higher Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels than it did a decade ago, it’s impacts on the faetal brain were likely more profound than they once were.
THC is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis. “This study is one more example of why pregnant women are advised to avoid substance use, including cannabis,” said Hewitt. “For their children, it could have long-term consequences.
” For the study, Hewitt and lead author, Evan Winiger, analysed baseline data from the landmark Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, which is following 11,875 youth from age nine or 10 into early adulthood. About 700 mothers that participated in the study reported using marijuana while pregnant.
Of those, 184 used it daily and 262 used twice or more daily. “Mothers who said they had used cannabis while pregnant were significantly more likely to report their children having clinical sleep problems,” said Winiger.
Similarly, those who used marijuana frequently were more likely to report somnolence symptoms (symptoms of excess sleepiness) in their children, such as trouble waking in the morning and being excessively tired during the day.